Princess Cruises and Holland America requiring masks for Alaska voyages amid COVID uptick
Two major cruise lines are requiring masks on select Alaska trips amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.
Princess Cruises and Holland America Line both brought back the mandate for some sailings in the region.
“Masks are now required at all indoor locations on northbound and southbound Alaska voyages between Whittier and Vancouver until further notice,” Princess Cruises spokesperson Briana Latter told USA TODAY in an email. She also said masks are recommended on Princess cruises in the United States “in the majority of venues, though they may be required in select venues or situations.”
Holland America has made a similar change.
“Currently, we are requiring masks in all indoor locations (except while eating, drinking, or in your stateroom) for select Alaska voyages (specifically one-way voyages from Whittier to Vancouver or Vancouver to Whittier),” Holland America spokesperson Bill Zucker told USA TODAY in an email.
The cruise lines did not say how long the rules would remain in effect.
Alaska has seen 2,485 new COVID cases over the past seven days, a 24% increase from the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University compiled by USA TODAY through Tuesday.
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Major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line rolled back mask requirements in February and March.
The CDC dropped its risk assessment for cruise travel in March, though the change did not mean the agency considered the activity risk-free. "Travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings," CDC spokesperson Dave Daigle told USA TODAY at the time.
Among the 87 cruise ships opted into the program, 77 have currently met the threshold of reported COVID cases for CDC investigation, according to the health agency’s website.